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Carla Hayden

Library Director and Administrator Carla Hayden was born on August 10, 1952. She received her B.A. degree from Roosevelt University and began work as a library assistant at the Chicago Public Library in 1973. She later received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago’s Graduate Library School.

She worked as library service coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Library and Information Science. In 1991, she returned to Chicago where she worked as the Chicago Public Library System’s deputy commissioner and chief librarian. She is also the second African American to become the executive director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, one of the oldest free libraries in the United States.

Hayden was elected president of the American Library Association in 2003. She succeeded in getting Attorney General John Ashcroft to declassify reports on the Act’s provisions and eventually, through her efforts and the efforts of other civil liberties organizations, the section of the Act that allowed the F.B.I. to demand private individuals’ library records was rescinded.

Hayden has continually championed the cause of civil liberties and freedom of information. She spearheaded the A.L.A.’s efforts to overturn legislation that forced all libraries receiving federal funding to install internet content filters on their computers. Eventually the Supreme Court upheld the right of adult library users to request the filter’s deactivation, though they did not overturn the requirement that the filters be installed. Hayden has worked with the A.L.A. to publicize and uphold the right to deactivate the filter.

She has been honored with the Andrew White Medal by Loyola College, the President’s Medal by Johns Hopkins University, and the Legacy of Literacy Award by the DuBois Circle of Baltimore. Hayden was named one of Ms. Magazine’s 2003 Women of the Year and one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women of Maryland. She is also the first African American to receive the Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal Magazine. She is a member of the Boards of the Maryland African American Museum Corporation, Goucher College, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Library and Maryland Historical Society.

Accession Number

A2010.082

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/16/2010

Last Name

Hayden

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Schools

Roosevelt University

University of Chicago

Ps 96 Joseph C Lanzetta School

St. Edmund's Parochial School

South Shore International College Prep High School

First Name

Carla

Birth City, State, Country

Tallahassee

HM ID

HAY10

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Living Well Is The Best Revenge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

8/10/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream (Chocolate)

Short Description

Librarian Carla Hayden (1952 - ) has served numerous library systems and fought for civil liberties and freedom of information. She was appointed the 14th Librarian of Congress in 2016.

Employment

Enoch Pratt Free Library

Chicago Public Library

Museum of Science and Industry

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carla Hayden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carla Hayden lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carla Hayden describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carla Hayden describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carla Hayden relates stories from her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carla Hayden describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carla Hayden recalls the stories her paternal grandmother told her about family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carla Hayden talks about her father's upbringing in central Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carla Hayden talks about her father's career as a musician

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carla Hayden talks about how her parents pursued careers in music during the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carla Hayden talks about how her parents' marriage ended after the family moved to New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carla Hayden shares memories of the music scene her father belonged to during her childhood in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carla Hayden describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carla Hayden describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carla Hayden explains why she chose not to pursue a career in music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carla Hayden talks about her childhood interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carla Hayden recalls Margaret Pendergast of Springfield, Illinois, one of her role models as a librarian

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carla Hayden describes her experiences in grade school in New York, New York and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Carla Hayden talks about the impact of her parents' divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carla Hayden talks about the factors that led to her parents' divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carla Hayden describes her experiences at St. Edmund's School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carla Hayden recalls her cultural experiences in Chicago, Illinois during the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carla Hayden describes the changes in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois during her high school years

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carla Hayden describes her experiences at South Shore High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carla Hayden talks about why she did not attend her prom at South Shore High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carla Hayden recalls her impression of radical politics in Chicago, Illinois during the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carla Hayden talks about her aspirations while attending South Shore High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carla Hayden describes her experiences at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carla Hayden describes her experiences at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carla Hayden talks about how she decided to become a librarian

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carla Hayden describes her early career as a librarian in the Chicago Public Library system in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carla Hayden describes her graduate studies in library science at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carla Hayden talks about her decision to specialize in children's literature

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carla Hayden recalls her time as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carla Hayden talks about returning to Chicago, Illinois as the chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carla Hayden recalls the completion of the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, Illinois in 1991

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carla Hayden talks about her decision to become the director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carla Hayden recalls the dedication of the Bruce K. Hayden Center for the Performing Arts at Malcolm X College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carla Hayden talks about the history of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carla Hayden describes her tenure as director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carla Hayden talks about how she became president of the American Library Association

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carla Hayden talks about her opposition to the USA PATRIOT Act as president of the American Library Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carla Hayden talks about the future plans of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carla Hayden offers her perspective on how reading will change in the future

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carla Hayden reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carla Hayden talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carla Hayden reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carla Hayden talks about her family's pride in her career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carla Hayden offers advice to young people considering a career in library science

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carla Hayden describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Carla Hayden talks about how she became president of the American Library Association
Carla Hayden talks about her opposition to the USA PATRIOT Act as president of the American Library Association
Transcript
Tell me about the American Library Association [ALA] and your involvement in the American Library Association.$$Well, I was elected to be president of the American Library Association. And that's the oldest and the largest organization that is involved with libraries. So it has about sixty-five thousand members, mainly librarians and it represents--it's the voice of public libraries in particular in this country. And I was elected and--to be president, my first elected position. And it (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) This is the first--okay.$$I never ran for anything, school, president, and anything like that.$$How do you get to be the president of the American Library Association?$$You actually have to campaign, and you have to have a platform, and you have to present to the different groups, and you have to do interviews. And you have to actually run for it, and I had an opponent. And I guess that, a little bit of that Chicago [Illinois] rubs off on you. So (laughter), I won by a wide margin, and we--there were no dirty politics though. But it was a clean election, but it was an interesting experience. And it was also interesting because I had, by that time made friends with some political figures in the Baltimore [Maryland] area. And they helped me with the campaign. The other person who helped me with the campaigning came out and did a fundraiser for me, was [HistoryMaker] Tavis Smiley. We had had him here several times for book signings, and he heard that I was running for the American Library Association president. And he actually came out and gave a donation, one of the first donations to my campaign that allowed me to buy T-shirts and buttons to give to the librarians at the conference. You have to really do that kind of electioneering. And that, and I've been grateful for that ever since. And he's been back to the [Enoch] Pratt [Free] Library [Baltimore, Maryland] to do book signings.$$Okay, does he have a connection here locally at all, I mean in terms of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) No, I don't think there's any direct connection. I think he--what I've found is he can be very supportive of people that are trying to do things. So.$$Okay, now, what was your platform?$$Well, my platform was equity of access, that people of all backgrounds should have as much access to library services as possible. And sometimes we may not realize that in libraries that the policies that we put in place are actually barriers to access. And homeless--if you have a requirement that someone has to show a driver's license to get a library card, that can eliminate a lot of people, or if there has to be a residency thing. You have to show a piece of mail. Well, what about the homeless people. So there're lots of things that we do in libraries sometimes that are actually blocking people from using us freely and that we should look at all of our policies. We should look at the people we hire to make sure that sometimes they reflect the communities that they're working in. So, it was really asking the library community to look at everything we do to make sure that our libraries stay free and open.$After 9/11 [September 11, 2001]--$$Right.$$--[U.S. Department of] Homeland Security came up with some--there's even legislation, right, to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, the [USA] PATRIOT Act [of 2001].$$PATRIOT Act, right.$$And that, and during my term, that, the PATRIOT Act was enacted, and there was a section--and there still is a Section 215 that related to library records. And while I was president, I had to represent the [American Library] Association [ALA] and take a stand basically saying that we were concerned about that section that allowed the federal government to look at and confiscate library records without the library being able to tell the person who's being investigated that their records were being examined. And, in fact, we couldn't even tell other staff members or our boards that the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] or whatever agency had visited us. We would be put in jail if we revealed that we were even asked for records, much less the names. So (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) These are records of the kind of books you check out or--$$The books, the use of computers. We also and still at this time, are able to, say you sign in for a computer session. There's a way, as everybody knows, that you can track what someone's looking at, what websites they're going to. And we have that information. And so the government, without--and this was another aspect of it that we were concerned about, could go into and get a court, a closed court, and get the warrant for this type of search without showing cause. So they did not have to say we suspect Larry Crowe of this, this and this. They could just say, we want to look at his records. That's all they had to do. So they did not even have to show any proof. And so what bothered, and in a true sense, the librarians who had this covenant of trust with our patrons, is that you may be interested in jihad, just because you're interested in it. You've heard the name. You wanna know more about it. That doesn't mean that you intend to join. So interests and intent are not necessarily equal. And that's what we wanted to protect and make sure that people could still want to find out information about anything without being investigated and not knowing that they were being investigated. And it really escalated to the point that the government was able to just find out, not even particular names of people coming in to a search, but would say, be able to say, we want to see the names of everyone who has ever looked at this. So that's really broadening to it, to the extent that it was unacceptable.$$Okay, so did you achieve any success with (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) We did have some successes in terms of that, and each subsequent passage or reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, there have been modifications to that section so that there is notification. Librarians will not be jailed if they reveal that the FBI--so each reauthorization, we've been able to effect some modification.$$Now, you, you've actually had to speak with John Ashcroft who was then attorney general (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$--about these--$$Right, so it--as my grandmother said at the time, "I never thought being a librarian would get you to do this kinda thing." (Laughter) She was very amazed.